Jack Whalley (MEng Aerospace Engineering 2012) explains how he joined his local Freemasons’ Lodge through a new scheme to attract university students:
'A friend of mine joined Freemasonry a year ago and spoke about what an amazing time he had, meeting new people and the things they were up to. Considering the mystery and secrecy that can sometimes surround it, I asked for a bit more information. He introduced me to the Universities' Scheme liaison officer, who showed me around and talked me through what goes on behind the ‘closed doors’.
'He explained that Freemasonry isn’t as secret as everyone makes out and that the secrecy aspect arose after World War II where Freemasons were persecuted, which drove the fraternity underground. Since then things have evolved and the public perception is not the modern day reality. Something that sparked my interest further was the amount of charity work that Freemasons get involved with. After the National Lottery, Freemasons give the largest donations to charity in the UK – all through donations from its members.
'At my first meeting I was joined by four other students from the university as part of the Universities' Scheme. The scheme engages students with Freemasonry to help continue the strong traditions. We were made to feel incredibly welcome by everyone, which helped overcome any nerves we may have had. Everyone was interested in who we were, what we were doing and offering encouragement. A huge part of Freemasonry is the fact we are all equal; it is one of the few places where you can sit down for a meal with people from all walks of life, ages, races, and careers and have a great, relaxed time.
'I have enjoyed meeting so many different people, whom as a student I wouldn’t have met otherwise. It has become something that I look forward to each month, where I continue to learn things and I’m really looking forward to getting more involved next year.'